4 Marriage Conversations To Help With Loneliness

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Episode Summary

On the outside, it’s so easy to look okay, but on the inside so many are lonely. Is that you? Discover four marriage conversations that will help you understand where you and your spouse are really at and how your marriage can help your friendships, relationship with God, and know-how to help your kids too.

We believe loneliness is an epidemic right now and there are many deep reasons for it. The more digitally connected the world becomes, the lonelier people seem to be.

It’s easy to have lots of shallow friendships, but what we really crave are a few close deep ones. These friendships are the ones where you pray for each other, sharpen each other, encourage and correct each other. These are the people whom you have true deep fellowship and the ones who you call when you are feeling lonely. 

What is even more vital is discussing with your spouse your marriage mission. Are you on a mission together? When you have a mission, a purpose, you will find that you are not as lonely, you will find satisfaction in your marriage. 

Now, what is vital above all else is your relationship with God, without a healthy intimate and personal relationship with your creator loneliness is inevitable. 

In This Episode We Cover:

  1. Share With Your Spouse Specific Areas You’d Like Your Relationship To Grow

  2. Discuss Where Each Of You Is At In Your Relationship With God

  3. Discuss Your Friendships

  4. Discuss Your Mission Together

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Scripture In This Episode:

1 Peter 3:1 – “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,”

Matthew 7:3 – “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?”

Genesis 2:18 – “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'”

John 15:5 –I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Proverbs 13:20 –He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.”

Proverbs 18:24 –A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

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Full Transcript:

Welcome to Courageous Parenting Podcast, a weekly show to equip parents with biblical truth on raising confident Christian kids in an uncertain world. Hi, I’m Angie from Courageous Mom. And I’m Isaac from Resolute Man.

We’ve been married 20 years and have seen the fruit in raising our eight kids biblically based on the raw truth found in the Bible. We can no longer let the culture win the hearts of children. Too many children from Christian families are walking away from the faith by age 18. And it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Join us as we start an important conversation about effective parenting in a fallen world.

Everyone, welcome to the podcast. Hey, guys, we’re glad to be back and hope you’re well. Crazy times in this world, isn’t it? That’s right. We are people listening from all over the world. So we have friends everywhere. We love it. Mm hmm. By the way. Thanks for sharing the podcast and the movement. It’s really exciting. Over half million downloads since the podcast started and things really moving right along. And it’s it’s been a journey right honey?

Yeah. And things are building with having a new course available. All right. We’ve got over 150 people that are going through the course right now. And some people have asked me.

Angie, is this a course that teaches like parents had a home school or is this a course you put your kids in? And I just want to verify that this is for parents to go through to help them navigate homeschooling. Oh, interesting. Didn’t know there was confusion. I know. Well, not a lot. Just some people have asked. And so it’s, you know, listen, every profession out there, you know, goes and gets educated for their profession. Right. And there’s ongoing training for different things. Right. Dentists have to continue their education. Teachers have to continue their education. And you as a homeschool parent or a teacher. So. So getting continuing your education, continuing to be encouraged to keep staying the course is important.

So the two places you can find things courageousmom.comCom, courageousparenting.com, those are the two home bases for everything. We’re so excited to talk about this topic “four marriage conversations to help with loneliness”. And sometimes nobody even knows you’re lonely. Isn’t that true? And sometimes we feel inside and sometimes we’re so busy we don’t realize we’re really lacking that deep friendship we really desire.

Yeah, I’ve been getting a lot of messages from moms recently. I would say that, you know, with the quarantine, it’s probably a little bit more so than it would be if we weren’t right. ‘Cause spring is coming here in Oregon right now. And. And so it’s a fun time to be outside and to be going to the park and doing playdates outside and things like that. And people can’t really do that right now. And so the the messages I’ve been getting a lot more often have been about being lonely. And so we have some encouragement for you guys in regards to your marriage and this particular topic.

Yeah, I think it’s really timely, but it’s always going to be important. And, you know, so let’s dive into it. We have 4 keys for you here. And the first one is to share the desires for your marriage relationship and how you want it to grow.

This is an important one for Isaac and I. This is something that we’ve done our whole marriage. We you guys know that we have talked about visioneer dating. We’re going on a date where you’re spending time, vision and together thinking about where you’re at now, evaluating, giving things a number and then making goals. And just for talking and dreaming together, we even have a date night one sheet that can be really powerful for people. That’s on our Web site. If you haven’t joined our mailing list, you can go to CourageousParenting.com, join the mailing list and get that free download that we’ve had available for quite a while now. And so I definitely if you haven’t done that, if this is your first time listening, I recommend doing that for sure. But we’ve talked couples this for many years, actually, and it’s a really basic practice of going on a date and spending some time intentionally talking about the desires that you have for change, for growth, for maybe growing your friendship more. It’s important to also talk about intimacy. There are a lot of different categories, if you will. I doubt if this is something that is resonating with you right now. I also want to just recommend one of our very first podcasts, which was on Visionary for Families right now, because a lot of those questions can be morphed into that.

But Angie sometimes this can be really uncomfortable depending on where the marriage relationship is at. Sometimes one of the spouses is wanting to have deeper conversation. The other one isn’t or maybe doesn’t talk very much. When asked a question that is trying to go deep. And so how would you know if if there’s some nervousness to enter into these kinds of deeper conversations, what would you say to them?

It’s interesting that you’re bringing that up because I actually get a lot of messages from women specifically. I can only speak from what, the women’s side of things. Maybe you can speak to the men’s side of things. But I get a lot of messages from women who are in that exact same boat where they’ve maybe had a conversation with their husband.

They’ve brought up the desire for growth and change and then they don’t see anything or there has been rolled their eyes or they just kind of brush it off and move on and don’t really try, actually.

And so I say to those women, I always encourage them with first Peter Three, which talks about women encouraging their husbands by their conduct.

Right. It says that if any of you are married to a man who is disobeying the word of God, that he may be won over by your conduct. And so I’m just encouraging women with that particular scripture. It doesn’t say that you’ll win them over by your words. It doesn’t say that you’re going to win them over by your leadership, doesn’t say you’re going to win them over by anything except your conduct. And so really, we can’t change other people, but we can be faithful with what God’s called us to. And that’s what we’re actually going to be held accountable to. And I, as I have over the years, encouraged women with that. That’s something that I even like have had to go. You know what? With little things or whatever it is like, I just never worry about myself. Why am I focused about him when I need to focus on what I need to be working on? And when we actually stop ourselves in the moment, of course, it’s easy to get down on ourselves, right, or get down on your marriage and be like overly critical to your spouse. And so in those moments, the thing that I’ve tried to do, which I hope is an encouragement to you, is to just stop and actually look first.

Like Matthew 6 says, see if there’s any plank in your own eye because you can’t go to your spouse and go, hey, I really wish, you know. I wish you didn’t play video games or I know that there I get those complaints from women, too, like that. There hasn’t been a lot time on video games like you can’t go to them and be like pointing out the speck in their eye. If maybe you’re constantly on social media. That’s your video game, in a sense. Right? Like, I just think that first thing we always do before we confront anything is we go to Matthew 6 and we we pray and we ask God to reveal what’s going on in our heart. First, remove the plank from our own eyes. We can do surgery right now and pray. That’s the third thing, right? So one would be with your conduct, be faithful and you can win them over. Two is going to be. Make sure you’re not being a hypocrite. Take out the speck I own. I in 3 would be to be praying, praying, praying because prayer can change people’s hearts.

So yeah, I was thinking for the guys, you know, if they’re the ones that are being distant or not wanting to engage in real relationship, the first thing that comes to my mind is, you know, are you hiding something? The second thing that comes to mind is do you realize in some ways you’re being a bit of a traitor because you committed on the wedding day to be that best friend and to be that person that goes the distance and to nurture your wife and protect her and to build a relationship ongoing. And if it was a Christian marriage, you probably even made a commitment to be the spiritual leader. And so why do I use such strong words? Well, when I want to get your attention. But I think it’s true, though, because if you made a commitment and you’re going back on that commitment in terms of relationship, you’re still married and you’re committed to the marriage, maybe, but you’re not committed to the relationship. That is a sense of being a traitor, because if one person is trying and you’re not. And I think a lot of times is there’s burdens on husbands that they’re not speaking about and they’re not having a sense of commentary in their relationship where they’re openly talking about things. Now, on the wife side, there could be reasons for that. It could be that he gets beat up every time he tries to enter into something serious that’s financial or or his mistakes or whatever.

These maybe there’s been trust that was broken in the past and a wife hasn’t forgiven her husband and isn’t trusting him financially. Yes. You know, thinking about different things and that can even go into other aspects, like if a husband struggled with let’s just say they struggled with pornography and then they repented and they grew out of that. There still may be a bitter root. There might not have been full forgiveness or trust restored yet. I’m not. For some people, they can experience that right away. Other people, it takes longer to rebuild trust. And that’s actually the consequence that that’s part of the consequence. The sowing and the reaping that the husband experiences.

Because of what they sowed. And but we should definitely be trying and striving and walking faithfully what God’s called us to in forgiveness or whatever it is.

If there is something you know.

Absolutely. I think that’s I think that’s huge. And, you know, it’s sometimes you have to go through short term pain in the relationship to have long term gain in the relationship. And so what that means is you might be hiding something. A financial decision you made that wasn’t helpful, maybe made an investment without her knowing. Or maybe you are uncertain about your career and you’re trying to have this image of strength. There’s an element of that that’s important. And there’s good timing for everything when you tell. Sure. Tough news. But at the same time, your relationship needs to supersede all things except for your relationship with God. And if if it’s not if your relationship with someone at work or a business partner or these kinds of things that can really come in between those things. And I think it’s super, super important to keep your marriage first.

There’s a great scripture in Genesis that talks about how man was alone because Adam was alone. It was him and he had a relationship with God. And so in that sense, he wasn’t alone. But he really God really felt like it would be even better if he wasn’t alone and there was another human to run the race with. And so in the Lord God said and this is in Genesis 2 18. It is not good. That man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him.

So I think that is really cool is that we are made to be in human connection. In fact, I really believe scripture validates this that, you know, two become one flesh. Why is that? Because you have different strengths and different weaknesses. And when you’re together, they should complement each other and become stronger. The truth is, and we know this because we’ve done a lot of, you know, seminars and things. A marriage seminar is is that those places where you compliment each other are also potential friction points. And so a lot of times in marriage, you only look at those differences as a negative, because in your experience, sometimes they have been a negative. But if you instead go, wow, that’s a positive. And then start acting maturely together, they really can be a positive. I think to what I’m going to say might rub some people a little bit wrong.

But I think that sometimes when we aren’t appreciative of the opposite complimentary and gift that’s in our spouse. Might be because we actually are struggling with pride, thinking that the way we do something is actually better or right. Yeah. And the way they do something is wrong or not as good.

And I I’ve just want to call that out because that’s. I know that that’s something that is a sanctifying lesson to learn.

You know, it’s important that we put words in a label on it so that we can say, Lord, search my heart if there’s any way would weigh in me. Yeah, I am struggling with this. One example would be like if your husband tries to help you and he loads the dishwasher and he doesn’t do it the way that you do it and you get a little mad and you think you have to redo it, then he definitely or probably struggling with that. And those guys listen, I say this over and over again in podcasts and I say it in the parenting program.

The only reason why I’m able to bring up these examples is because I’ve struggled with them myself. You know, I’ve had to walk through them. So if it is a little bit painful to hear these things at times, I bring it up because I’m bringing this up because I’ve been there and praise God that his spirit sanctified me and helped me to get to the place to be able to repent and change and grow. And I want that for you. My younger sisters in the Lord or my sisters, maybe you’re not younger. Maybe you are in your 40s, right? Maybe you’re older. I want growth for you because I want I want spiritual maturity in my masters in Christ. And so I’m I’m just bringing this up because we need to be willing to ask the hard questions of ourselves, not just always our husbands.

Yeah. Right. So what are specifics? I think it’s important. Get very specific when you talk to each other. And by the way, don’t lay it all on in one evening. I have this big list like, oh, here’s the ten things I wish were better about our relationship. The husband is going to be girl like he can take one arrow. I mean, he kind of feels this way sometimes and they can take another arrow. Maybe he can hold two arrows in his body at the same time. But the third and fourth and fifth arrow. Pretty soon you’re getting to a point where he kind of subconsciously throws his hands in the air and just listens without listening. And yet you get no response.

Or maybe the response you get is OK. So I’m horrible when they say that, you know, that they’re just taking the hits and they’re not really genuinely there. And so, again, this is something that we’ve had to learn over time. I was the one that would like not deal with things for a while. And Isaac was working super hard when we were first married. He wasn’t around a whole lot. The first like four years, I mean, obviously, on weekends. But he traveled more, got up early before the kids got up in the morning. And a lot of times on leave comes home super late after they’d gone to bed many days a week. And so there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for me to actually bring up things to him, because then when he was home, it was like, we gotta do something fun with the kids, man.

And we were doing hospitality for work and for church.

Yeah. Yeah. And so I think that it’s really important. Here’s a little side tip that you prioritize having a date night or a night even weekly where you’re able to connect. Maybe not always talking about this kind of stuff, but it’s important that you don’t let things build up know point because what would happen with us is things would build up. And then I’d bring them all to Isaac. And by the third or fourth thing, he would be like, Whoa, I’m way down.

And I thought I was just warming up, you know? And that was just it wasn’t OK. And here’s another thing that I think is really important for women to hear also. Or for men, if you are willing to dish it, you need to be willing to take it, too, because the reality is, is nobody’s perfect. And so one of the things want. That Isaac and I have tried to ask is how can I be better? Mm hmm. And that’s a really important question to ask each other. How can I be a better wife? How can I be a better husband?

How do you feel our relationships going, you know?

Is there anything I can do to nurture it more?

You know, I mean, as simple as that. And those scary questions sometimes, because your you might feel like you’re accepting an arrow in the stomach. And really it’s not we shouldn’t look at it that way. Would you go? I am accepting feedback. So my team can be stronger. Yeah, I’m accepting feedback. So my marriage is better image for my kids to see and accepting feedback so that I can grow as a leader. Those are guys things we need to think about. And so we really need to get specific, though. And so here’s the challenge. Figure out one or two specific things you can share with your wife or you can share with your husband. Mm hmm.

I also want to bring in the element when you were speaking, it was so good. Isaac, I’m a receiving feedback so that I can all these I cans. I think that’s really cool. One thing that’s coming to mind is that and it kind of is in alignment with growth because sanctification, the definition of sanctification is growth, right. But realizing that that’s like part of the journey of the Christian life is that we would be growing in spiritual maturity and sanctified, that we would allow God to refine us. And one of the ways it’s important that we recognize that one of the main reasons for marriage is actually so that God can use that relationship to grow each person. We are one another’s accountability partners. We are that iron sharpens iron in each other’s life. The first one, actually. And so when you see the purpose behind that in marriage and you recognize that that’s one way that you are living a God centered marriage, is to not avoid those hard conversations. And that if you really want to have the thriving, growing marriage that continues on for 30, 40 years, where you’re leaving a legacy of a strong marriage, this is a huge element of that.

Yeah, I actually don’t think you can have that. You can be married for 20 or 40 years, but not really ever deal with those issues. Not ever. Really grow in your legacy will reflect that.

Yeah. Well, hey, we have three more points. And they’re really important. A lot of times it gets even deeper as we go towards the end. Real quick. First of all, if you’re watching the video version, you might be wondering what happened with your set. Well, it’s we didn’t have time to reset the set. Sorry. Because we’ve been busy. We just shot. We’ve been working on a workshop. A health nutrition workshop.

Yeah. It’s called Healthy Home Mom Hacks, which is gonna be available soon, which is free.

By the way. So when it’s available, we’ll put it in the show. Notes on here. Oh, should be this week, which is totally free. It’s about 50 minutes and super practical, super helpful stuff. And the p_d_f_ download and all that stuff. So but the other thing I want to mention is the parent mentor program. We wanted to welcome you into this. The course that we have put the most work on in and has the most content in because it really puts out there, distills down the biblical parenting model we’ve done over the last almost 20 years raising our eight kids. And it really is practical, pointed, really well done and self-paced. And we would love to have you part of that. And the people that are part of that, we actually invite you into deeper, closer relationship to in connection with us.

Our conversations, we’re able to talk about things that we normally wouldn’t talk about on the podcast or online.

You’re part of the private Facebook group and you have text message access to us and things like that.

Yeah, it’s a lot easier to be able to connect with people and they can share their personal situations and ask for advice and things like that. We can pray for people when we don’t have advice.

By the way, if you love in the podcast. Would you share it? Would you give us a five star review? A written review of all those things helped algorithms and help the mission of the 1 million legacy. So let’s go into point two, by the way. Point two is discussing individual relationships, your individual relationship with God. And then point three is going to be discussing friendships in your life and Point Four’s discuss the mission.

So it’s going to point to, OK, so we actually have a scripture verse in John 15:5. I just love John 15 vineyard. And of course, you know, we have the vineyard that was very that was a huge point of why we were doing that. Yeah, I am the vine. Verse 5 You are the branches he who abides in me and I and him bears much fruit for without me. You can do nothing if anyone does not abide in me. He is cast out as a branch and as withered, and they gathered them and throw them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in me and my words abiding you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you by this. My father is glorified that you bear much fruit, so you will be my disciples. L love the scripture.

And it’s so important and you know, it’s important that your spouse knows what you’re real. Walk with God is. This is both ways. So Angie should always know how I’m doing in my walk with the Lord and I should always know how she’s doing. Because you each have an individual relationship with God, and that’s really important. And and it makes the marriage more powerful, right. Because when you’re relationship with God is stronger, you’re able to hear the convictions the Holy Spirit giving you. You’re able to get the wisdom that the Bible leaps off the page as you’re pursuing him. If you’re seeking this all makes sense. If you’re not seeking, he’s actually in the scripture.

It’s confusing. Yeah. And what’s interesting, too, is that you’re a you’re a better, more biblical friend if you are abiding in him. Yeah. And if you’re not abiding in him, then your relationships will reflect that. Yeah. Including your marriage, right? Yes. That’s the most important one.

So if you want to be more patient, if you want to be more kind, long suffering, all the fruits of the spirit, then we have to be in God’s work. So the fruit can come fly out of us because otherwise was walking in the flesh. Walking the flesh. Going to be edgy, short with each other. We’re going to assume that there’s going to say something negative and cut him off. We’re going to have these bad ruts in our relationship of assumption where we need to have fresh, clean start sometimes and assume the best. I always call it and teach our kids this all the time. Assume virtue in each other.

Yeah. And that’s an important thing to remember in regards to your relationship with your spouse, because it’s easy, especially the longer you’ve been married.

I actually think that it’s easier for people to get into those ruts of expectations and expectation rut. If you will. And I think that that actually would be a good question to evaluate, to ask yourself. Are there any expectation ruts in my marriage? Does my husband seem to think that I’m going to respond in a certain way every single time? Do I? And then ask the same thing. Does my wife think that I’m going to respond? It’s a good, healthy question that we need to ask ourselves. Because the reality is, is sometimes our nonverbals. Right. Can be consistent for many, many years and create a reputation with our spouse. Right. You know about certain things. Or maybe we have bad habits, bad attitudes ourselves. Like maybe we roll our eyes or maybe we grumble under our breath or maybe we like. There’s a lot of things that we really need to ask the question like, you know, my husband, does he see that? And what is how does that impact his ability to lead or. Yeah. You know, there’s just a lot of questions about that kind of stuff that I think we need to ask ourselves. What kind of. So as a wife, I would ask myself, is there an expectation rut. That maybe I’ve put my husband like I expect certain things from him or I expect him not to do so, I guess.

Right. So, for example, you know, honey do list. Right. Right. That’s a point of contention for a lot of couples. And a lot of times people don’t recognize that. You know, by putting things on the honey do list, maybe their husbands starting to feel like they’re being bossed around. Yeah. And, you know, that would be an important conversation to go, hey, you know, I just kind of noticed that maybe you don’t really seem excited when we’re talking about like household chores and stuff. Do you not like me to put together a list of things that I notice are broken? How well, then, how should we handle those broken things when I find something broken? Should I not tell you and you just figure it out? Yeah. Because you’re not really ever in the laundry room or, you know, like have the conversation. Yeah. Because you need to be able to communicate about like practical things that need to happen in the home. Yeah. But they need to be received in conversation from one another in a way that is respectful, loving, kind, not angry or bitter or any of these things.

Right. Because that’s actually one of the main things that I actually get a lot of questions from. Is women going OK, especially right now with everybody being at home together. Right. More things go broken. Kids are being used more often. And then they feel like they’re constantly like putting more things on the list. And husbands are like, I’m trying to work from home.

Here’s a thought, because if you listen a lot and you’re the guy, then, you know, you’re supposed to be the spiritual leader or you’re reminded often of that. Or if you follow a resolute man on Instagram, I’m constantly reminding men of that. And the question I have for you is rhetorical question here.

Is it good leadership to share with your wife, your struggle in your relationship with God?

It’s a kind of trick question, and the answer is it is good leadership, good leadership isn’t pretending to be strong.

Good leadership is actually confiding in your teammate when you’re weak so that she can pray for you.

She might even go, you know what? I notice you’re really working hard. And as when the kids are all over you, when you get home and then you’re tired at night. Let’s talk about how we can find a little more time for you to read the word. Let’s find a little more time, maybe in just need a half a day to go, you know, getting the word and pray and write something or, you know, on a Saturday. You know, these kinds of things. And I think that’s the same, too, for the wife to share with the husband. Well, I’m just running ragged. I don’t have enough time. I’m tired. Maybe you’re pregnant or something like that. A lot going on. Now, the husband could pray for you and can find times for you to be alone.

I think that the key, though, is that you’re both putting the needs of each other above your own needs. Most people we live in such a self preserving, selfish, ego driven society just in general. And it’s that’s human nature. That’s the flesh, right.

That wants to do that. And so a lot of times you see women that complain about being lonely. And I did say complain because I was complaining. Like, what’s the definition of complaining? And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t share with friends about that. Actually, you should, because you need lots of prayer. But I think that complaining is when it’s like, oh, man, I’m this. And he never. And that’s not healthy for our marriage. That’s not productive. How do you deal friendships where if you do that, they’re going to say, honey, I really think you’re being disrespectful to your husband right now? Yes. Seriously, what you’re doing is you’re tempting that friend to sit and listen to the gossip about your husband and saying, I help your marriage. And so instead, you need to have the perspective of like, oh, wow. This is really my heart. I need to confess this to my husband and be putting the needs of one another above your own needs.

And when you do that, usually it’s reciprocated. Right. And so, like, maybe one of you just doesn’t know how to love the other person in that way. So one of you has to go out on a limb and go, hey, do you need a couple hours to just go be by yourself? And then it might get reciprocated. Like you need both a communicate about what you need.

And if one of you notices that the other’s relationship isn’t strong, you stopped noticing them reading the word and so forth. Then we should welcome the other one going. Hey! And how are you doing? Right. I notice. I notice. I mean, edgy. You’re not. Walk in spirit.

And a lot of times if you’re use a communication tip, if you’re about to give somebody constructive feedback, ask permission first. Mm hmm. Hey, do you mind if I share something with you? I’m noticing. Mm hmm. And then the other person’s like, I want to say no, but I’m gonna say yes.

Right. And I think that it’s a while.

And then they’re way more receiving it.

I think it’s also a good tech to have the conversation about like if you’ve not had those kinds of conversations, maybe it needs to be brought up at a date night first and go, hey, you know, I really wish that we were able to be more open with one another where you when you noticed me being edgy or maybe sharp or not having a good attitude about doing housework or whatever it is, I want us to have the kind of marriage. Yeah. Where when you see that you can hold me accountable. But in a way that’s not disrespectful to me in front of our kids. Yeah. And I want to do the same for you. Yeah. And it’s important to actually communicate that desire, which is the first thing where timeout like share your desires for relationship growth. That would be a huge thing to bring up in your marriage and go, I want to have that kind of relationship. So then you’re setting the stage for being able to talk into one another’s lives, but also receive that from one another.

Amen, amen. Yeah. So let’s go to point three wishes. Discuss friendships, right.

And so having clarity on what you want, you know, we’re talking about specifically friendships with other people. Right. And how that impacts your marriage. Even so, one of the things that has been like. A key thing for our marriage and staying strong and being able that basically say you’re my best friend and vice versa. Like we don’t believe in best friends outside of marriage. Yeah, actually. And we don’t allow our friendships with other people to become domineering like we always put our marriage first. You know, if that makes sense. And one thing that’s really important is to be on the lookout for any relationship that you have that’s potentially creating division in your marriage. That relationship definitely you need to evaluate and either confront the issue and not spend time with that friendship. Or maybe that’s actually friendship that you need to like walk away from, actually, because your marriage, you have to protect your marriage at all costs. And so, you know, sometimes maybe you have a friend where they just don’t like your husband. Right. Or. And so then they bring up things that irritate them. You should not be spending time with that friend. Right. And so it’s important that you have these discussions with your husband. If you’re a woman with your wife. If you’re a man. Yes. And you are even warning one another. There have been times where Isaac has had conversations where he’s like, hey, can I talk to you about something or get on a date night? Obviously, no kids around. Right. To be respectful of the friendship and he’s gone. Hey, you know, I just want to bring up this friendship. You know, I I’m not really sure if that friendship is the best for you and actually for our kids.

And this is why I’m worried about this and this. I see these signs. And it’s not that he was ever saying, I don’t want you to spend time with me. Wasn’t like lording over in that kind of way. But it it’s important that you have that kind of relationship. We’re like, hey, if there was for example, we’ve also had this kind of conversation when you were running a business and there were many women that worked for you where Isaac go. We always had these really important boundaries. You know, from the beginning of our marriage, he was never in a meeting one on one with a woman alone, ever. Always had multiple people there. If he had to meet with somebody or would have one of our kids go, yeah, right. Yeah. Kelsey came with me a lot. Yeah. But there were times where I would get a bad feeling about someone who maybe was like, I don’t care if he’s married. That makes him more attractive to me because that’s the kind of society that we live in today, which is strange. And Isaac maybe is just so driven and work that I think I don’t know if he’s really aware that that person flirts with him or whatever. Right. And so I’ve had to come to you and go, hey, babe, I just don’t feel comfortable with her, you know? And it’s important that you can have those kinds of conversations with each other without there being defensive once again. It’s important that we’re able to discuss the relationships that we see that our spouse has and go. Is that actually a good relationship to pursue?

And on the other side of going, hey, that person really seems to be influenced by you. Have you thought about sharing the gospel with them? Have you? I would just encourage you to, you know, like.

So there’s the kind that you warn about, but now there’s the kind that you encourage, too.

Now, I know you exhaustively studied friendship between women at least, and you did a course on it. And it’s amazing. But why don’t you give people clarity on what we should actually be looking for in friendship?

Okay. So it’s Isaac’s kind of putting me on the spot right now. We don’t. We made it a little outline for our part, just like we always do. But this is such a huge topic and we didn’t really like this will be another episode for sure.

But give us what we have. So it’s five minutes.

Oh, my goodness. OK. So most of you probably are going, what are you what are you talking about? So in 2014, I wrote a online Bible study. It was originally called The Quiet Fight Between Women. And then we revamped it and added to it. And what should we look for in it’s now on biblical friendship. And a lot of people have a misunderstanding of what it is. They oftentimes when I speak at women’s. Right. Well, when I was speaking at women’s retreats on this topic, I would ask people, what are the top things that you think are important in biblical friendship? And always in the top would be prayer, encouragement and forgiveness. Right. And which makes sense for sure.

But encouragement is it actually reveals something, because when you actually study encouragement and I talk about this in the biblical friendship online Bible study encouragement is actually in the Bible when you look at the group. The Greek translation of the word encouragement. And you look at the Hebrew translation of encouragement in the new King James version and the King James version. That word actually only shows up four times and seven times. And I go into depth into this more at other times. But the word that’s actually used for biblical friendship more by God in the Bible is exhortation and encouragement. When you actually look at the real definition now, you can do your own study. Go to blue letter bible, dawg. Look up what exhortation is. And you’ll get a little number in there and you can click on that number and I’ll tell you. Many times that word shows up in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

It’s over 109 times while. And so exhortation is actually a better description of what is a biblical requirement by God because friendship isn’t to make you happy, it’s to make you holy, which is kind of that’s a terminology that I use in the biblical friendship course, because I learned that actually from Gary Thomas reading his book on Sacred Marriage, where he says, what is marriage for? Is it to make you happy or to make you holy? It’s to make you holy, not happy.

And this is a marriage by guess. So I think that that’s definitely a good book to recommend. But I thought about that. I went, whoa! I bet that it’s the same for friendship also. And of course, I mean, you read versus like as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens the countenance of another.

And you just look at the different aspects of friendship. The warnings actually in scriptures like job, you definitely don’t want to be a friend like Joe, like friend jobs, friends. Right. They were going to him going, what have you done? What kind of sin have you done that would create all this? Right. And they’re antagonizing him, tempting him to doubt God.

We don’t want to be friends like jobs friends were right. We want to be the kinds of friends that God actually Jesus showed us an example for. He had his 12 disciples, but then he had his three three. And then he had as one beloved. Right. Yeah. And even his three that he took with him to be praying while he was in the garden of Gethsemane, fell asleep on him.

So just still this down real quick because I want everybody in action step from this section is to identify. one to three other people that you really want to go deeper in friendship with that are going to have the courage to exhort you is the point that are going to have the.

They’re going to make prayer a priority. They’re going to pray for you. If you have free friendships and you think that they’re biblical friendships and you don’t have the comfortability to actually sit and pray together, you actually don’t have a biblical friendship. That is the foundation.

So what if you have a good friendship, but it hasn’t got to a spiritual level? How do you enter into that with what if it’s one of those guys?

It’s the same kind of steps that we’re going through talking to you about regarding the depth growing in depth in your marriage. It’s the same kind of steps in the sense that you accurately have the conversation and go, I desire for growth in this friendship. It’s the exact same process we’re going over today. You have to be willing to be vulnerable. You have to step out on that, you know, step out on the limb and you’ve got to go. You know, I I really appreciate your friendship and I would love it if our friendship could go deeper. Do you want to do a Bible study together? Do you want to meet together once a week to pray? Do you want to just pray over the phone together for 20 minutes, once a week, or text me or do voice messaging you guys? If you have Apple phones, like I voice message people in my life and it is so fast and they know that I can’t necessarily get back to them right away. And and I know that of them and we have grace for one another, but we’re able to voxer one another or whatever it is. Right. And that’s when your relationship is built on the solid rock. Right. When you’re taking the real the raw, the vulnerable things, you’re going pray for me in this or I’m struggling with this heart attitude or whatever.

More than ever, we need solid Christians we can lean on and that can lean on us as well. And so start being what you want for one to three other. And that’s really important.

And the other part of discussing friendships here is church. You know, in your church, maybe for some people, your kids have the best friendships at your church and maybe you’re there because the youth group you think is amazing and your kids have great friendships. But maybe neither of you have good friendships at church.

I would challenge you to pursue. Pick one to three people and pursue that. And if you can’t, maybe you’re not the right church. Maybe the church culture isn’t one of instilling real fellowship. That’s super, super important. Or maybe just the husband has some good buddies at church and they could do things together. But the wife feels really alone. That is an important marriage conversation. Or maybe the wife has really good friends with the guy. Can’t connect with anybody. Might be his fault. Not the people at church. Might be the people at church. Who knows? But you need to discuss that.

And maybe maybe your kids have friends, but neither you or your husband do that, if that’s the case. I actually have to ask you kind of a hard question. Why is it that you don’t get along with the parents of your kids for friends? Yeah. Because you actually if they’re the kind of kids you want your kids hanging out with, then you should be like minded with their parents because apples don’t fall far from the tree.

It’s a sign that you’re a way too loose with who your kids spend time with.

Right. Like if you don’t like who they’re. Parents are. Let’s just put it bluntly, like if you don’t you don’t have the same convictions, political views even. I’m just going there. Yeah. Like then do you realize that your kids, their kids are probably a lot like them. And that’s going to influence your children.

In fact, we have a scripture here. The super important in Proverbs 13 20 says he who walks with a wise man will be wise.

Sorry we’re stuck there, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.

Yeah. And so we need to be really evaluating like what our friendships like. And I in this topic of discussing friendships. I also want to just challenge maybe a challenge. Can you give me a challenge? A challenge is to actually evaluate where your friendships are at, because maybe you have had a long term friendship for like 10 years or 20 years. Right. Maybe they grew up with somebody or they went to college with somebody and then they were close and used to go to chapel at college together and worship God together and go to church together. But now, 10 years later, they’ve been married. They’ve had some kids. Maybe things have changed. Maybe they aren’t really walking with the Lord. That friend isn’t. Maybe you are. Or maybe vice versa. You really need to evaluate your friendships every once in a while and go hmmm. Should I be giving as much influence into my life to that person? And do I need to like maybe pursue deeper friendships with a few other people, which is what Isaac was saying, like make a short list, one to three people you want to pursue, but you’re not gonna have time to do that. If you filled up your friendship holes, right. Your time with people who are not actually pushing you to grow.

Well, here’s the scripture on Proverbs 18:24, which is a man who has friends, must himself be friendly. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. And so it’s really we can have a lot of friends wide. But do you have a few friends deep? And you have to be careful with your time. You have to be careful with the time. And a few friends deep. It’s going to go further than a lot of friends. Yeah. And so the final point.

Super important is discuss the mission as a marriage game. So if you aren’t on purpose as a married couple, if you’re strengths together aren’t being used in some way. And by the way, that can be just alignment and how you’re raising your kids, that can be alignment in the legacy you’re trying to leave and a godly legacy. But are you on a mission together? Because when you are, you will find that you’re not as lonely.

You’re satisfied in your marriage and you’re satisfied in God. And I think that if we’re not satisfied and God and we’re not satisfied in our marriage, then we’re gonna be you.

You are gonna be really lonely. And you know, it it’s not going to go that well in your other friendships either. We got to get it right with God first. We gonna get it right in our marriage and we should be satisfied. And I know that we’re a lot of places we’re coming out of quarantine right now with the Covid thing. Some people are still in it. I know in Oregon, we actually still are. Yeah. And but that is something that exposes this. Right now is a time to reflect on your time alone together as a family. And have you been lonely? That’s an indicator of some serious problems.

Yeah, I think one of the things that we were talking about in regards to this and we brought it up briefly with our church on our Zoom call yesterday was what what does the need for spending time with other people reveal? Right. Like there can be a good thing, a good aspect to that and a negative aspect to that, right. The good aspect is that God created us as social beings. They are made in fellowship with one another. The Bible warns us about not neglecting fellowship, says we should desire that we should.

And if we don’t? We need to ask the hard question why is it because I have an independent, rebellious spirit and I don’t want to be accountable to other people because that’s not good. But then there’s the other aspect of that, too, right? Where is am I so dependent? Is my happiness and my joy dependent upon doing fun things or being affirmed and getting accolades from people, other people that I spend time with because I’m so dissatisfied in my marriage and dissatisfied with my family? Am I? Am I not content even for a short period of time? Is there an element of selfishness? It’s there, right. And so I think that we we need to be asking all of the hard questions. There’s just one or two. Yeah. And I’ll. Good. I was just going to say and in that like being willing to talk to your husband about that, like go, OK. So if I’m feeling this loneliness.

What is it like God gave you to me? Maybe we need to work on our friendship more during this time and view this time as an opportunity for. Vs. a desire for scaping, something that isn’t there to go to, something that is.

Yes. Let’s just make sure we’re not escaping. And it’s good to have both desires. But if you’re not on mission, you’ll fall to distraction. We tend to try and escape when we’re not purposeful in escapism is ugly. We can have fake versions of connection with human beings called social media, called feeling good when we post something and we get accolades for it. These are fake relational fillers and there can be lots of these fake relational fillers. It could be that you go to a certain women’s thing, but everybody stays surfacy. And so you feel like I’m doing the right things for a relationship.

But there aren’t any real deep relationships happening and there isn’t any good fruit like they go home and then there’s no like deeper connections a week or two weeks later. Then they’re back to their loneliness. Right. Yeah. And that that’s a sign that there isn’t real authentic depth happening. And I think that it’s important that we recognize that when we have our relationship built on Christ and those are like mindedness and friendship and this goes for marriage and for other friendships when we actually have that one good symptom of a healthy relationship is that there’s such a like mindedness there that, you know, I’m on mission. I know your on mission. So there’s no like need for having to get together so often and then feeling bad if we don’t. Yeah, but there’s a trust, right? Expecting virtue in one another going, hey, I know that they’re doing a great commission with their kids. I’m gonna cheer them on. Send them a little prayer text so that they know I’m thinking about them, praying for them, even though I can’t see them right now. But then when you get together you’re like excited. You’re always excited, too, to exhort one another and challenge one another in a good kind of way.

Oh, I see you bring up a good point, which is another point here that I want to make sure get started, which is when people are succeeding, we should be fanning their flames. Yes, people are thriving. And it’s there’s a sign of corruption in your heart. When you get that competitive feel, when you get that comparison and you feel negative and you’re comparing someone else’s highlights with your reality realities, which can be lowlights less. And that’s another indicator that you’re scrolling way too much on social media.

Nobody understands you like you know, that’s one of the signs that you’re scrolling too much. You’re making assumptions you don’t really know people is when you make assumptions, think you know, they don’t know how I feel. And I’m I’m in this. Right. And so I think that it’s and I’ve been there like the winners. And I’m able to say it is because I’ve experienced that myself and I’ve had to catch myself and set boundaries and talk to my husband. And so I think that, you know, we’ve talked about a lot today.

I hope that it’s encouraging to you guys in a growing kind of way, but just know that we pray for you guys.

Yeah, we we deeply care for the hearts of like minded brothers and sisters.

We feel like we’re on a mission with you. And let’s go impact one million legacies. We appreciate you very much. Blessings.

See you next time. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode. We wanted to quickly tell you about our six week online parenting mentor program.

Isaac and I created a powerful biblical curriculum. Here’s how it works each week. Isaac and I release a video with a downloadable parenting package to make it easy for you and your spouse to incorporate those teachings directly into your parenting.

It’s an incredible program where we cover everything from obedience training to overcoming mistakes. Most Christians are making, but more than that. It’s an incredible community. You’ll have access to a private online group live Webcast and the courageous parenting text message line where Angie and I can send weekly encouragements straight to your phone.

If you’re interested in joining our next online parenting mentorship program, Secure Your Spot now at CourageousParenting.com.

That’s CourageousParenting.com

Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of CourageousMom.com, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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